The old man of the sea looked out over his domain, and he was happy with what he saw. Through the window, the view was dominated by the noble grey steel bow of his vessel. Around him, the orderly world of the bridge. Everything was in its place, ready to be called to arms at a moment’s notice. There was nowhere else he would rather be.
His hand gently caressed the ship’s wheel but, in his mind’s eye, he saw himself wrestling with it as a southwester tore across the bows, rain lashed fiercely into the port side, and the crew looked to their captain for reassurance that, yet again, he would lead them safely to port.
No such worries now: for the moment, they were tied alongside. A gentle swell caused the deck to roll sensuously beneath his feet. The feeling put him in mind of a lady he had known in La Paz. For a moment he lost himself in the memory.
Rubbing the gleaming brass handle of the ship’s telegraph to remove a smudge, he looked forward to a day when it would be firmly thrust from ‘stop’ to ‘full ahead’.
“Soon, my beauty. Soon,” he whispered, as if to a lover. “We’ll have fire in your belly and a world to explore. Soon.”
Looking out over the ocean, he could see the sunset. It was a nearly prefect evening, but the sky promised things would change. Storm clouds were gathering ahead.
Come back for Chapter Three next week.